The CEO of Air Canada hopes President Donald Trump’s promise Thursday to U.S. airline executives to cut their taxes will spur action on this side of the border.
Calin Rovinescu says moves by other countries to become more competitive might prompt Canada to cut fees, charges and taxes that represent about 43 per cent of the average ticket price.
Trump promised airline executives at the White House that he would lower their corporate tax burden and roll back regulations. He also said he supports privatizing America’s air traffic control system.
Air Canada (TSX:AC) has long complained about extra costs to fly in Canada that have in the past prompted millions of passengers a year to catch flights from nearby American airports.
Rovinescu spoke to reporters in a large Montreal hangar, as the country’s largest carrier unveiled new looks for its planes and the uniforms of its employees.
He says the proposal under review by the Canadian federal government to privatize airports would end up costing passengers more as the new owners would raise already high fees so they can earn a rate of return.
Meanwhile, Rovinescu says Canada could ultimately benefit if a ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries is reinstated by U.S. courts.
WestJet expressed a similar view earlier this week, saying uncertainty surrounding new U.S. border policies could present a silver lining by increasing interest in Canada by foreign tourists.
Air Canada’s CEO says a “small number of passengers” were displaced when Trump signed an executive order imposing the travel ban, but later got to their destinations after it was lifted.